Ontario to launch enhanced COVID-19 data page

Ontario's main web page of data on COVID-19 cases is getting a makeover, CBC News has learned.

New interactive graphs will allow users to compare rates of new cases in different public health units

The province is enhancing its web page of data on COVID-19 case numbers and testing statistics. Premier Doug Ford will announce the new data displays on Tuesday. (Evan Mitsui/CBC)

Ontario's main web page of data on COVID-19 cases is getting a makeover. 

The province will launch an enhanced set of graphs Tuesday afternoon, showing more information about infection rates than has been easily accessible until now.

Premier Doug Ford will announce the new data page during his daily COVID-19 news briefing, CBC News has learned. 

A prototype of the new web page, seen by CBC News, shows new graphs allowing users to compare COVID-19 case numbers between different public health units. Another new chart breaks down how the infections were contracted, whether through an outbreak, close contact with someone positive, or from an unknown source of community spread. 

"As our government has often said, the people of Ontario deserve to have the same access to the same information that we use to inform our decisions. That's what we're delivering," said Treasury Board President Peter Bethlenfalvy, the cabinet minister overseeing Ontario's digital government initiatives.

A screenshot from Ontario's new COVID-19 data page, to be launched on Tuesday. Information about sources of infection has not previously been published in graph form on the province's existing data page. (Government of Ontario)

"This will help make it easier for people to try to understand where are the infections and help them make informed decisions about what they should be doing," said Bethlenfalvy in an interview. 

Ontario's existing data page provides a range of graphs showing such province-wide figures as new infections, hospitalizations, and testing. Local figures are only available from each of the 34 public health units. 

The province's enhanced data page will include graphs with more interactive options, such as viewing the raw number of cases or the number of cases per 100,000 population in selected public health units. Test positivity rates — considered a key indicator of the spread of the virus — will also be available.

The Ford government is facing an imminent decision on whether to lift the extra restrictions imposed on the COVID-19 hot-zones of Toronto, Ottawa and Peel Region, which are due to expire on Friday. 

Ford has asked public health officials to provide a plan to ease the measures, so that bars and restaurants could resume serving indoors. 

The seven-day average of new COVID-19 cases in the province hit 919 on Monday, its highest level yet.